I spent two days at SES NY this year. It was my first Search Engine Strategies conference since Danny Sullivan left. I was very impressed with how well the conference is run, the quality of the speakers, topics, expo hall, and attendees.
Most of my time was spent at the Pubcon booth and the University of San Francisco booth where they were playing some of video lectures (did I mention I am humble and it made me a little uneasy seeing myself on the screens?).
SES from my point of view had more of a marketing executive crowd of attendees versus the more hands on technical attendees that attend Pubcon. I think mixing the groups and cross marketing will be valuable to both shows.
I sat in on two sessions. Avanish's Keynote - great insights on Search, using Analytics for Search, and the challenges of keyword assists / conversion attribution models. I also sat in on Jim Boykin's sponsored session on organic link building - this is a full time job, can be successful with quality content and serious strategies.
Lastly, I spoke on SEO In House. Building SEO Departments was a focus of Tandem Interactive's four years ago. It seems this is a really hot topic right now. You can check out the SEO In House Presentation at Slideshare. I will be posting more on this topic in the near future. I see some core mistakes when building these departments that are easily preventable. I did like how the panel supported third party audits and advisory services working with the in house SEO departments.